Goodbye

[goo d-bahy]: farewell (a conventional expression used at parting).

I have been the witness to many goodbyes in my life.

In my earlier years I was a master of picking up and taking off. Cutting all contact with people and just moving forward. I had once a friend named Jennifer in high school. I got a strange vibe from her and was determined to make contact with her. In those days you wrote notes to each other, and I wrote a story and started with the first two pages of it and said:

“If you write me back once a day, I will send you a new page of the story,”

I  got to know everything about her, without saying a word to her in person. She was probably one of my absolut closest friends. I wrote the story and she told me all about everything. Day after day, week after week, month after month until three years went by without almost never saying hello. Just my hands slipping her a note each day.

When we finished school I asked my friend at the time to get the story and tell her I was going to type it.

I took the story and threw it in the trash can and left it all behind. And she never forgave me.

I tried a few times to make contact with her, and always look for her name, but all of the messages I have written are replied with silence.

When I was in the army, I left every two years. I left friends I made, soldiers I had under me, and I never looked back.

I have left friends as an adult, I have left people I have worked with and sometimes I have left my family (although I always come back to them).

My father made me promise I do not leave him this time, because he can’t take it if I do it again,  so this time I will keep my word.

There are some people I do not want to say goodbye to, like my grandmother and grandfather (more about them some other time).

There all also people that I know that they were taken way to early, and the most of them are people I have worked with at the jail.

Tony was a strong man, he used his mouth like a pistol and he too was someone that would wear boots to work. If you told him that he couldn’t do push ups with his hands while standing on a wall he would take all the time he could to learn how to do it.

The last words that came out were on his Facebook page:

“There are few people who mean something to me. The few know who they are…. I love you all… This is me signing out of Facebook xxx”

It is haunting to see that in front of you and then know he was gone. Just like that, Tony said goodbye.

Pavel was a big man. We would sit by the computer and talk about the latest news in the Ukraine.

One day we all got called into the break room and our boss looked at us while we were acting like everything was just as normal as it always was. He looked at us very seriously and said with slow words that poured like concrete:

 “Pavel died the night before last,” 

The room fell quiet and I looked around at the silence and could not stand the silence:

“He was a good man, we are going to miss him.” I said.

When Erika died she killed herself. She was missing and then they found her.

My memory with Erika was when she first started working on the job, I saw her crying and pulled her into a room and started talking to her. She started talking about her family and all of the problems they had. We ended the conversation with:

“I understand more than you know, I am bipolar,” I said

The room got silent and I went back to work.

She was like my Jennifer, I saw her in the hallways, but never said a word.

When she died and it came out that she had the same illness as I did, I took it really hard, wondering if I could be able to that. I had come close before, but I never did it and I never was weak enough to do it.

I walked into someones office and started crying. We sat down and talked and she said something that really struck me.

“Erika was like a ghost walking through these halls, you are far from that,” she said.

I never met Karen, but she was like my “You know where you were when it happened” moment.

She was murdered by an inmate. His cold hands spent less than two minutes pounding her face with his hands and a gummi batong.

I know people who one day were sent in a taxi not knowing where they were going to, only to find out on the internet on the way there. I am sure those images of people walking like zombies in shock while they kept things going was the hardest day they ever spent.

I was eating lunch with a colleague when we say the news. I know who he was and what he said. Talking about his family and how much he loves them. I don’t think he remembers so much that I was there across from him at the third table on the last two chairs across from each other, but I do.

The last person is Christian. He as I always would say is a clown, he loved to make people laugh. He would hang up the pictures of the man above all over the place on our floor. He made us laugh in a not so happy place.

I knew he had cancer, but I guess to my fault I did not know until later than everyone else. I would see his posts on the few times I logged into Instagram and always thought it was a “little” cancer. That sounds sick, but my wife survived breast cancer and I guess that my mentality is a bit off when it comes to that.

When I think of Cancer I think of little and big cancer. Little is the people that get past it and the other is the ones that are lying on the bed in their last moments like my grandparents, those moments that you just want them to die because they are suffering so much.

Christian was a strong man, so I always thought he was going to beat this. I do not think he is a weak person, but I do know he fought like a giant to survive.

I guess people with cancer are all fighters, but he probably took it like a superhero.

I found out he died by a message on messenger this week. His last words to me were when he was coming into the jail to transfer an inmate to his trial:

“Hello my friend,” he said to me while giving me a hug.

Goodbye is not so easy to say anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

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